The Valley Breeze reports that
Sami Almuhtaseb, 45, of Smithfield, owner of Oasis Market, a convenience store located in Providence, pleaded guilty in federal court on April 15 to defrauding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP, of more than $1.1 million.
Almuhtaseb was able to rack up a cool $1.1 million haul because the fraud took place over six years. Six long, lucrative (for the store owner) years. SNAP, or food stamps, involves both state and federal tax dollars. If the State of Rhode Island (or the feds) had detected this fraud much sooner rather than letting it go on for six years, the tax dollars stolen and squandered would have been far lower. It is unacceptable that our elected officials appear to hold our hard earned tax dollars in such low regard.
This store owner is certainly not the only one to have committed SNAP fraud, nor is SNAP the only social program that is the target of fraud. It is imperative that our elected officials get serious about detecting and preventing this fraud both because it is the right thing to do and because of the impact on government’s image. A continued casual attitude towards the unnecessary squandering of tax dollars will only contribute to the public’s dislike and distrust of everything that government is doing or proposes to do — not to mention (self-preservation consideration) a negative impact at the voting both.